Mandy Kloppers

Relationship Breaks – Do They Work?


Sometimes the ones we love are the same people who drive us up the wall. When the tension and resentment builds up, it can begin to take a toll on our enjoyment of the relationship. If it becomes unbearable, some couples opt for a temporary relationship break. The question is, do they work?

The answer is – yes and no.

Is there still love?

If you both still love each other and miss each other then there’s a good chance that a temporary break can work. At times, when we are with someone too much and can’t resolve issues, we can become overwhelmed by negative emotions associated with out partner. Seemingly innocent behaviour can be seen in a negative light and time apart brings a fresh perspective.

Having time apart allows those negative feelings to dissipate  and gives us a chance to miss our partners. It also helps us to settle into a neutral emotional place. This encourages balanced thinking and a renewed way of looking at the issues.

The cause of the relationship break

If the relationship break has been initiated due to differences in values and on something that you just cannot seem to find middle ground on – such as having children or getting married, these issues will not go away after a relationship break. This type of disagreement needs to be talked about and resolved rather than delaying the inevitable communication by having a relationship break. Of course, many differences can be resolved if you both want the relationship to work but when there is a vast gap between where you both want the relationship to go, this can be harder to overcome. Someone will have to give in and the resentment may never go away.

If the cause of the relationship break is to have a breather but remain faithful to each other during the break, this can be a positive way to shift the stagnant status quo.

 Fundamental Relationship Issues

There are some problems that a relationship break will never be able to repair. These include:


Once the trust is broken, there will always be a fundamental change. The relationship can continue but it will never be the same again.


Differences in attraction to others, wanting multiple partners or being more experimental than your partner won;t go away by having a relationship break.


A relationship break will foster further insecurity in the relationship. If there are jealousy issues then a relationship break is not the best way to resolve the issue.

Intellectual differences

When you don’t see eye to eye are not on the same wavelength in terms of general intelligence and how you view the world, a relationship break would not be the ideal way to try repair the relationship problems.

Emotional engagement

If you just don’t ‘get’ each other and are unable to emotionally support each other, a relationship break will cause more harm than good. Communication and compromise is key for this issue.

It is important that both people in the relationship want the break to help their relationship rather than to escape from the relationship to follow their own selfish desires. If this is the case, it would be worth checking whether the relationship is right for you of whether you feel stifled in some way.

A temporary relationship break can be a life saver for many but it depends upon the issues that are affecting the couple. Using the time to evaluate what your priorities are, spending some time focusing on yourself and doing things to improve your outlook are all useful. Relationship breaks help to add perspective, allow us to engage our brains more than our hearts and give us time to see if we miss our partners. Relationship breaks cannot fix underlying issues though – those can only be addressed by communicating, compromising and consideration. These can, however, be more abundant and more accessible after a short relationship break thereby helping you to resolve existing issues with more compassion and tolerance.

Mandy X